Activision walkout

Blizzard exec warns employees to consider union “consequences”

By Olivia Richman


Dec 10, 2021

Reading time: 2 min

Blizzard executive Brian Bulatao sent an email to employees on Friday that warned them against forming a union.

Bulatao, a former staffer for Donald Trump’s administration who now works for Activision Blizzard, told Blizzard employees that there would be “consequences” for signing the authorization of the Communication Workers of America to represent Activision Blizzard employees in forming a union.

Some Blizzard employees have pursued membership in a union after the company was sued for gender discrimination and harassment.

Since then, more employees have come forward with negative experiences, ranging from unsanitary breastfeeding rooms to their lives being threatened by male superiors. CEO Bobby Kotick allegedly knew of some or all of these things and kept the accused male employees at the company despite the protests, causing employees to stage a walkout and demand that he be replaced.

Bulatao, who previously served as the COO of the CIA under Donald Trump’s administration, has emailed the employees to warn them against forming a union.

“As you make this decision for your future, we ask only that you take time to consider the consequences of your signature on the binding legal document presented to you by CWA. Once you sign that document, you will be signed over to CWA the exclusive right ‘to represent [you] for the purposes of collective bargaining concerning all terms and conditions of employment.’ That means your ability to negotiate all your working conditions will be turned over CWA, just as the document says,” Bulatao wrote.

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Blizzard executive warns Blizzard employees to avoid joining union

In the same email, Bulatao stated that the leadership at Activision Blizzard supports employees’ rights under the National Labor Relations Act to make their own decision about joining a union. But Bulatao added that it’s better to have “transparent dialogue” with Blizzard leaders rather than “signing an electronic form offered to you by CWA or awaiting the outcome of a legally-manded and regulated bargaining process sometime in the future.”

Bulatao’s email comes at a bad time in Blizzard’s timeline. In September, the Communications Workers of America, a labor union for media employees, filed unfair labor practices charges against Activision Blizzard over claims that the company “engaged in worker intimidation and union-busting practices.”

“We are very inspired by the bravery of ABK workers, and we will always stand shoulder to shoulder with workers fighting harassment, assault, and discrimination. Activision Blizzard’s response to righteous worker activity was surveillance, intimidation, and hiring notorious union-busters,” Tom Smith, national organization director at the CWA, said.

While Bulatao told employees that they were allowed to vote for CWA, he stated the company is “confident” that they can achieve the progress they previously pledged to “create a workplace you can be proud of.”